Trainer Smith busy on first day of breezing at Laurel Park

August 12, 2021

Pimlico Race Course to Host Live Nine-Race Program Friday

LAUREL, Md. – On the first day horses were allowed to breeze over Laurel Park’s newly rebuilt main track, no one was busier than trainer Hamilton Smith.

According to Equibase, of the 15 horses sent out for timed works Thursday morning, nine were from the barn of the 76-year-old Smith, a multiple stakes winner of more than 2,000 career races.

Based year-round at Laurel, Smith moved his string to the Maryland State Fairgrounds in Timonium during the final phase of the multi-million dollar reconstruction of the dirt surface, which included the replacement of the cushion, base and substructure.

“I had four different kids working the horses, several jocks and several exercise riders, and I asked them how the racetrack was,” Smith said. “They all said the track felt great under them and the horses just glided over it.

“It was a little tight because of all the rain we’ve had the last few days. I’m sure it’ll slow down some,” he added. “Most of mine don’t run that fast.”

Smith’s horses posted the fastest time for both four and five furlongs. Mary Jo Kuehn’s 4-year-old homebred colt McCain, winner of a June 4 allowance at Pimlico Race Course, went a half-mile in 46.40 seconds. Mens Grille Racing’s Pretty Lori, a debut winner last fall at Laurel, and Whiskey and Rye were each clocked in 59 seconds for five-eighths.

Whiskey and Rye ran in four consecutive stakes, including fourths in the Gin Talking and Xtra Heat over the winter at Laurel and fifth behind seven-time stakes winner Street Lute in the June 13 Stormy Blues at Laurel. Most recently the 3-year-old filly was fourth in a June 28 allowance at Delaware Park.

“They went around there pretty good. When they came back and cooled out, I expected some of them to drink two buckets of water and all that, but I only had one horse drink a bucket of water,” Smith said. “The rest of them drank about half a bucket after the work, so it didn’t take as much out of them as I thought it might have.

“That’s a good sign,” he added. “It looked like the horses ran good over it and they finished up as well as they started.”

Other trainers breezing horses Thursday at Laurel were Rodney Jenkins, Hugh McMahon and Mike Trombetta.

Smith said he plans to nominate some horses to the final stakes of the extended Preakness Meet at Pimlico on Maryland Pride Day, Saturday, Aug. 21, featuring a quartet of $75,000 stakes for Maryland-bred/sired horses – the Star de Naskra for 3-year-olds and Miss Disco for 3-year-old fillies, both sprinting six furlongs, and the Find for 3-year-olds and up and All Brandy for fillies and mares 3 and older, each going 1 1/16 miles on the grass.

Nominations for all four stakes are due Saturday, Aug. 14.

Pimlico Race Course to Host Live Nine-Race Program Friday

Live racing returns to historic Pimlico Race Course Friday with a nine-race program beginning at 12:40 p.m.

Three of Friday’s races are scheduled for the grass, attracting a total of 28 entries. Race 2 is a waiver maiden claimer for 2-year-old fillies where Jerry Robb-trained California Bella, a daughter of two-time Horse of the Year California Chrome making her second career start, is the narrow 2-1 program favorite under stable rider Xavier Perez from outside Post 8.

Fillies and mares will sprint six furlongs in Race 4, a maiden special weight for horses age 3, 4 and 5. Godolphin homebred Frosteria is rated as the 1-2 favorite on the morning line, getting Lasix and blinkers for the first time in the sophomore Frosted filly’s first start since Jan. 3. Racing first time for trainer Michael Stidham, she has been second in each of her four starts including the seven-furlong Santa Ynez (G2) in her most recent effort. Meet-leading rider Charlie Marquez has the call from Post 1 in a field of eight.

Friday’s feature comes in Race 8, a third-level optional claiming allowance for 3-year-olds and up going 1 1/16 miles. Thundershook, trained and co-owned by Jamie Ness, is the even-money program favorite off three consecutive wins. Also in the field are 2020 Concern winner Air Token and multiple stakes-placed Tybalt and Tappin Cat.

With six racing days remaining in the extended Preakness Meet, Marquez leads J.D. Acosta and Jevian Toledo, 41-37, in the jockey standings, while Claudio Gonzalez has a commanding 36-18 lead over runners-up Dale Capuano and Kieron Magee.

Maryland Jockey Club Press Release

Photo: Whiskey And Rye, (MJC)

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